Used to

English grammar (See all)

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Used to

USED TO, followed by a verb in the infinitive, expresses a completed action in the past:
Philip used to be a very quiet boy. In the past, Philip was a very quiet boy. (he's not anymore)
He is not as athletic as he used to be. He was more athletic in the past than he is now.
You didn't use to be so arrogant! In the past you were not so arrogant!

As well as this idea of opposition between the past and the present, used to can also express a customary or repeated action in the past:
When he was living in Paris, Bruno used to eat a croissant every morning. When he was living in Paris, Bruno ate a croissant every morning.
She used to go to the theater on Friday evenings. In the past, she went to the theater every Friday evening, but not anymore.

Do not confuse with:
•  the expression to be used to (something, doing something) (to be accustomed to doing something), in which 'used to' is always followed by a noun:
I am used to such situations. I am accustomed to situations like this.
I am used to walking long distances. I am accustomed to walking long distances.

•  the ordinary verb to use (to utilize), in the past simple and past participle forms:
This is the map I used to find you. This is the map I utilized or employed to find you.
A barometer is used to measure atmospheric pressure. A barometer is utilized to measure atmospheric pressure.


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